Electronic Media Reviews -- on Television: The Violence Factor

Article excerpt

"On Television" is a three-part video series recently released via Resolution Inc./California Newsreel 149 ninth Street/420, San Francisco, CA 94103. Two of the programs are dated, but the issues are still relevant. The series includes "Teach the Children," "Public Trust or Private Property" and "The Violence Factors." The three-part series sells for $395.

"On Television: The Violence Factor"

The recent renewal of interest and concern about media violence appropriately introduces California Newsreel's re-release of the 1984 video documentary, "On Television: The Violence Factor." This documentary presents a thorough and provocative overview of the social, cultural, behavioral, and industry-related concerns that surround the issue of media portrayals of aggression.

Edwin Newman, the narrator of this documentary, makes two points very clear at the beginning of the video. First, the airwaves are public resources that should function in the public's interest. Second, however, Newman also stresses that the producers of the documentary in no way advocate the censorship of media content. Nevertheless, the public should be informed about any harmful effects that media violence may have on individuals and societies.

With these assumptions firmly in place, this video examines numerous issues and controversies including the effects that media portrayals may have on behavior, the different types of media content such as cartoons and news that may result in harmful effects on viewers, the history of political and scientific concern about televised violence, and the influence of ratings on media content.

One of the primary strengths of this documentary is the variety of often conflicting perspectives that are addressed. For example, the video includes numerous clips of researchers and media critics presenting evidence that media violence results in harmful effects on viewers. …